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McCain lines up duo for mares'

Donald McCain has two potential runners in the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle with Whiteoak and Alegralil.

Whiteoak won the inaugural running of the Cheltenham Festival event in 2008 and tackled the Champion Hurdle last season.

McCain had been eyeing a possible tilt at the World Hurdle with his charge this season but has decided against staying in the three-mile division after Big Buck's beat her comfortably in the Long Walk at Newbury.

Alegralil is an unbeaten but untested prospect, winning two bumpers and two novice hurdles at the smaller tracks.


Reflecting on Whiteoak's run at Newbury, McCain said: "I wanted to find out, then we could concentrate on the mares' race, which I think is what we will be doing now.

"She's better than the Newbury run, because the ground couldn't have been more against her, but there's a gap to find.

"When she has only taken on just mares she has shown how good she is. It's the obvious target and at this time it's all systems go to the mares' hurdle."

McCain said he would have no concerns in running Alegralil alongside Whiteoak at Cheltenham as "we will treat them both as individuals", but he may have other options for the youngster.

"I think I may have talked about her a little too much and I did say at one stage that she compared very favourably with Whiteoak," he said.

"She still does, but she may not be quite as hardened and streetwise as Whiteoak was at the same age, but she is still a very talented mare.

"She is going to have an entry in a mares' Listed race at Doncaster at the end of the month and could well step up in grade there.

"The David Nicholson is a possibility but there's also the mares' final at Newbury, and I think the handicapper gave her a mark in the 120s so she could conceivably go there.

"The next two runs will tell us what she's up to doing at the moment."